Ok, here is one for you wise mamas:
This morning, while I was putting some clothes into the washer, my almost-4-year old cleared off our table. Our table had about nine loads of freshly folded laundry on it, all sorted into neat little piles. I had one more load to do before the house laundry was finished and then I was going to put it away. The laundry had been on the table for about 24 hours.
So I walk into the living room and Violet said, "Look, mama!" and pointed to the huge mess. Then she started laughing. I was horrified. Violet is hearing impared and has a speech delay, so talking to her simply doesn't do the entire trick. YOu have to show a lot of facial expression as well as use simple phrases. Here is how it went:
Violet: Look mama! (laugh)
Me: Oh, Violet. Oh no! (hands in the air)
Violet: Mama! (laugh)
Me: Violet, oh my goodness. Messy, messy! Mama is so sad. (I start to look as if I am crying, using body language to show her I am really sad)
Violet: Funny, mama!
Me: No, it's not funny, Violet. Mama is MAD and SAD. (hands on hips)
Violet: (Cry) MMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDD (growly voice)
Me: Violet, mama needs your help. We have to clean this up
Violet: (scream) MMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDD (cry)
Me: It's okay, mama is sad because the cloths are on the floor. Mama worked hard to clean up. Too messy, Violet.
Violet: (cry) MMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDD (stomps foot, growls, cries)
Me: Violet, come here. It's okay. We'll clean it up.
She continued to be very effected by my performance--which used to be the only way she would understand. I felt like I really hurt her feelings, she even told her preschool teacher that mama was sad today. All the way home she asked, "Mama sad? Mama mad?" I told her I was happy, that I was not sad anymore.
It just totally threw me for a loop. She is getting so much more verbal and more in-tune with my emotions. I don't know how to find a middle ground or how to really know what she is understanding, what I can talk to her about.
Any advice on how I might have handled this better?